New Directions

1 Oct

I’ve not posted in this blog in a very long while. I guess I’m not sure what kind of place I want to make this.

A weight-loss place?

An adventures-of-Ginger-the-cat place?

A random place?

To be honest, I don’t even know if enough people read this to make it worth my while.

I’ll post again soon, just wanted to check in and say “helloooo!”

Also please note I’ve added a “blog with integrity” badge to the right-hand side of my blog. No lies here, people, like you might find on other blogs-that-shall-remain-nameless.

(Maybe this should be a multihyphenate-word place?)


Ginger the Goofball

14 Jun

My cat is unique.

I know a lot of people say that about their pets, and it’s probably true. In my case, friends have commented on how there are things Ginger does that they’ve never/rarely seen other cats do.

For example, Ginger likes to “groom” me — specifically my hands and arms — whenever she can. She would do this all day if I let her.

She also licks my forehead if I my face is close enough to hers. Again, she’d do this for eternity if allowed.

And lastly — but not leastly — every so often she’ll stick her tongue out. I’m not sure if it’s directed at me or the world in general, but it cracks me up every time she does it. I’ve tried to snap a photo of her doing it, to no avail.

Until now.

Helping Older Animals

2 Jun

I just read this article on USA Today’s Web site and pretty much cried through the whole thing.

Chance for Bliss Sanctuary Has Happy Endings for Old Animals

Please consider visiting their Web site and donating. You can do a one-time donation, sponsor animals for as little as $10/month (they are looking for 1,000 donors at this level), and there’s also a wish list of items they need (monetary donations for vet bills, feed and overhead being the greatest). I delved deeper into their “How You Can Help” section and there are a myriad other ways to help as well, from visting Etsy sites and donating used books.

I’d love it if you could pass this information on to any animal lovers you know. Stories of animal cruelty just break my heart and make me hate the world. Reading stories like this restores a little of my faith in the goodness of people. From what the article says, this couple is in severe financial distress, which in turn means this wonderful sanctuary is in the same dire straits. Any little bit helps!

And here’s a little bit of gratuitious begging in the form of a photo of my cat, Ginger, who thanks you for helping the animals!

Post WW@W Weigh-in: Week One

20 May

I’m down 1.9 pounds.

Taking this with a grain of salt, of course. My last Weight Watchers at Work weigh-in was at lunch time when I was fully clothed. This week’s was this morning in my pajamas before I left for work. And it still puts me above the goal that has set for me. But now I at least have a base to work from, a number to which I can aspire.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Little Fish, Big Fish, Swimming in the Water

18 May

Water exercise, while good because of the small amount of impact it puts on the joints, is definitely not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Last night I went to the gym for the “Water Walking” hour, and hopped in the pool with four elderly people and did my little water jog for about 40 minutes. Tonight I went for a full-on, hour-long water aerobics class. The fact that I’ve gone to this class three weeks in a row is a real testament to the instructor. She’s just a lot of fun and keeps things interesting. I don’t think we’ve done the same exact routine twice.

Tonight when I got home I had some dinner and did some dishes. Now that I’m sitting in front of the computer, I am starting to realize how sore I am. Almost as if I were lifting weights.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. I’m just a little surprised. When you’re in the water, it doesn’t always feel like you’re getting a workout, so I’m happy to be able to feel the results now that I’m on dry land.

Excitement in the World of … Ketchup

14 May

I very rarely get excited or agitated about ketchup. I mean, it’s just ketchup, right? Hasn’t change much in the bajillion years since it was developed. The only time I get annoyed about ketchup is when my friend Roy gets up on his soap box about how unhealthy high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, and a main ingredient in ketchup) is. My aunt, who is a nurse, agrees.

And for the most part, they’re right. While there are conflicting studies about the health risks surrounding HFCS (even the Mayo Clinic won’t take a stance one way or the other!), more and more people are electing to avoid it if at all possible. It’s a main ingredient found in lots of different foods, including bread, which, I agree with Roy, is very odd indeed.

I read on a blog (sorry, can’t remember which one) about how organic ketchup is — obviously — free of HFCS. My theory on organic food is that if it were less expensive, more people would be inclined to eat it. This is a big reason why I’ve yet to buy a ticket on the All-Organic Express. So I decided to first check out my local grocery store to see if they sold any ketchup devoid of HFCS.

Imagine my delight when I came across a name-brand ketchup that has a new, non-HFCS formulation! I did a quick Google search of “high fructose corn syrup free ketchup” and it looks like this name brand’s competitor is following suit.

So of course I bought it, because fries and cheese curds just aren’t the same without ketchup.

Now, if only a store-brand version of non-HFCS ketchup would come along, I’d be an even happier girl.


13 May

Our last Weight Watchers at Work meeting is in just over an hour.

We won’t be continuing, since we weren’t able to get the required number of members to re-up for another session. I’m okay with this. I think Weight Watchers and I have gotten all we can from one another. I know I will have gained weight this week due to the fact that I probably pulled every abdominal muscle I have at Core Bodyworks last Thursday, and was barely able to sit up without screaming in pain until Sunday. I’ve also only worked out once this week and was “being what I’m repeating” food-wise.

But, today starts a new weight-loss week, and I hope with the help of SparkPeople I can start to lose weight consistently again.

Karma’s a Bitch (And So Am I)

12 May

There are a lot of good people in the world.

Sometimes it seems as if there are as many — if not more — heinous people, who do  and say terrible things. Unfortunately, these are the people who end up occupying most of my thoughts. I can easily lose focus on the good and fixate on the bad.

Tuesday night I went to the gym for water aerobics. About halfway through the class I saw something out of the corner of my eye. An older man (50s, 60s?), who was standing at the opening of the men’s locker room, seemed to take an aggressive stance toward a boy who appeared to be mentally/developmentally handicapped. (I discovered later the two were father and son.)

I couldn’t hear what the man said to the boy, but I watched in shock as he began to flick the side of the child’s head several times with his fingers — and not in a loving way. In my mind, I gasped in horror. I must have gasped out loud as well, because the instructor followed my gaze to where the man and boy were standing. She looked at me sadly and mouthed the words, “I’ll take care of it.”

The man must have felt holes burning through the back of his skull, because I eyeballed him all the way as he walked with the boy from the exercise pool to the lap pool. I finished the class, but every once in a while I’d try to peek through the wall of windows that separated the two pools to see what they were up to.

As the class was coming to an end the man and his son came back into the exercise pool area to wait for us to finish so they could get in and swim. I spoke to the class instructor, who explained that this wasn’t the first time the man had exhibited this behavior, but they were wary of revoking his membership because the boy loved to come and swim. The mother (also older) is apparently nice, so it must just be the father who is a total prick and should die a slow, painful death. She told me she was going to talk to the gym director about the incident, but I think I’m going to e-mail the gym as well.

What worries me the most is what happens when they’re at home and no one is watching.

The abuse of a child is, in and of itself, reprehensible. But to abuse a child who is physically or mentally disabled? There’s a special place in Hell for people like that.

Alive and Kicking (Stream of Consciousness Post)

10 May

Contrary to unpopular belief, I am still here. I just haven’t had much to say lately.

Unfortunately, my 50 Book Challenge has gone a bit off the rails. I’ve not gotten through many books this year, but I’m still reading, albeit very slowly. I don’t know that something like the 50 Book Challenge is suited all that well to me, as I tend to read in spurts. But I shall keep plugging away.

I’ve also gone off the rails with regard to Weight Watchers, and have gained back almost all the weight I lost. Our final WW at Work session is this Thursday, because we weren’t able to scrounge up the required number of members to keep it going. For a company of our size (about 120 employees at our Brookfield, Wis. location) we had a great run.

For me, the end of Weight Watchers has meant the beginning of Sparkpeople. It’s enabling me to track things like the amount of cholesterol and sodium I take in each day, I’ve downloaded an app for it on my Blackberry, and best of all … it’s FREE! This is a terribly difficult and bumpy road I’m traveling on, but I’m determined to see it through, no matter how long it takes. Something our WW leader said at a recent meeting has stuck with me, and I’m trying to use it as my mantra when things get hard.

You are what you repeat.

How much more simply can it be laid out than that? While I’m obviously not the poster child for perfect, sustained weight loss, I’d like to think I am banking some sort of karmic interest for at least trying.

I had my first appointment with a chiropractor tonight after work. A co-worker recommended him to me, and I really like him, even though he’s a bit chatty and some of his thories seem a bit “out there” (or at least warranting investigation on my part). I have all kinds of little issues that could potentially benefit from chiropractic, like headaches, sinus and digestive problems, lower back pain, neck and shoulder aches, ad infinitum. This first appointment was pretty long, but he did some adjustments that seemed helpful, including clearing out my sinuses a bit.

I treated my visit with him much like I would a psychic — chiropractic is somewhat otherworldly to me, not really a field of medicine I’m familiar with or understand. Therefore, I tried not to lead him in one direction or another by giving away too many of my body’s secrets, and instead waited to see what he would find as he examined me. I was pretty impressed that he was able to find my hiatal hernia without me having to tell him (it took my regular MD a barium enema and an X-ray to figure it out).

When he began to discuss weight loss through chiropractic was when I got a bit skeptical. If it were as easy as making abdominal adjustments to aid digestion, why weren’t fat people like me lining up outside chiropractors’ offices? While I have to admit he did bring down some bloating in my stomach with some of the abdominal adjustments he made, I think I will still continue to watch my calories and cholesterol. 🙂

Though I’ll let him continue to make those adjustments, because it certainly can’t hurt!

Exercising has been a big issue for me lately as well, in that I’m not doing it. I briefly toyed with the idea of canceling my membership and either working out at home or hiring a personal trainer, but I didn’t think I could keep it up or afford it, respectively. In an effort to make it more of a habit, I made note of some classes at my gym that might keep me interested in fitness, and my goal through the summer is to get to the gym and participate in a class at least twice a week, if not more. By the end of the summer, if working out has not become a habit, I’ll re-evaluate.

Since I’ve gained back a lot of weight and am not in as good a shape as I was, most of my choices have focused on water exercise. Last Saturday morning I went to a half-hour class called “Aqua Tone” that promised a good resistance workout with water weights, and that was pretty enjoyable (I’ve only been to that one once, me being a lazy ass prevented me from going again this last weekend). Then last Monday I tried something called “Water Walking,” which turns out is an unstructured free hour in the exercise pool where people 30-40 years older than me walk laps in the pool. The night I showed up for that “class” I’d only brought my swimming suit, so I made the most of it and actually got a pretty decent workout (couldn’t go tonight because of my chiropractic appointment). Tuesday was regular water aerobics, which I’ve been to before. It was a new instructor, and she was great! I’m really looking forward to going again tomorrow night. Then last Thursday was a class called “Core Bodyworks,” which is basically exactly how it sounds: 30 minutes — non-stop — working all the abdominal muscles. I wasn’t even remotely able to keep up with the instructor but, while I didn’t do the moves exactly as she did, I did some sort of ab work for the entire 30 minutes (pats self on back). However, I think I tore every single abdominal muscle I have and until yesterday wasn’t able to sit up from a laying position or stand up straight without wanting to cry out in pain.

I won’t be going back to that class for awhile.

So I think for now I’ll stick with the water classes, and supplement that with either walking, or doing my pyramid weight routine at the gym.

Someone on another, more private, blog I have asked me if I had considered lap band surgery. I told them that I didn’t think I was overweight enough for that, but according to a friend of mine who has had the surgery, I am. I don’t think I could ever do that, though. I’m not so overweight that I can’t get around and live a normal life. And I also feel like I’d be taking the easy way out — while I know that many people have tried everything they possibly can to lose weight and have failed, which is what brought them to the surgery, I don’t think I have tried everything. I’m ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Though I must admit, a small part of me is thinking about looking into the weight loss drug alli. If there is anyone still out there that reads this blog, please comment and let me know if you have experience with it or know someone who has. I’d love to get feedback of real-world use, not just basing my decision on what their marketing materials say. :p

Okay, I’ve written enough here for one night. I’ll try to be better about posting on here, I swear!

My Hometown’s Contribution to March Madness

22 Mar

The Wisconsin and Marquette men’s basketball teams may be out of the hunt for the NCAA championship, but a Milwaukee influence still remains.

Click on the link to see what I mean, and to watch a really cool video.